Actor Rajkummar Rao is ecstatic. He has just bagged the National Award in the Best Actor category for his film Shahid (2013).
"I cannot express my feelings in words," he says, adding that he “never anticipated” this award. In this interview, Rajkummar tells us what acting means to him, and why he doesn’t want to be in the public eye all the time.
How does it feel to have won the National Award?
I’m very proud of the film. When I heard the script, I just wanted to be part of it; I wanted to be Shahid. Any actor would jump at an opportunity like that, and I was fortunate. When we made the film, we didn’t have enough support. Only when we got a wide release last year did people watch it. Every film has its own fate, and I’m more than delighted that the movie won two National Awards (director Hansal Mehta bagged one for Best Direction).
You’re quite a private person, especially when it comes to media attention. Do you make a conscious effort to stay away from the limelight?
I talk (to the media) if required. I can’t go around publicising myself. I love acting, and that’s my passion. I live and breathe my characters. I honestly feel that publicity is secondary. Honesty and dedication towards my craft — acting — is my priority.
Do you think this award and the resulting appreciation will change things for you?
I’m not sure. I’ll get to know now. Let’s see what difference the National Award makes to my career.
What are the factors you look for before signing a film?
I don’t think much when I take on a film. If the script is good, I sign it. I have a strong intuition when it comes to movies. And frankly, I don’t plan anything. I don’t connect the dots that if I take this movie or make this decision then I will get that in return. I don’t mind dancing around trees also if my character is good and genuinely does it. The script should make sense to me.